That, my friends, is the number of people there are in this world. Though many of us will never meet face to face & our daily struggles look entirely different– there are many factors that unite us! My hope is that this blog would become more than a domain, go beyond being another cliche username– ultimately breaking down the facade of perfection social media constantly makes us feel insecure about. A community of brave individuals unashamed of where they’ve been and never wavering in where they are going. A community determined to persevere when life becomes difficult and we don’t have it all figured out. A community who will use their voice for the voiceless–for each other! For days when we all feel less than or forgotten, we fight FOR each other! I believe strongly that openness and brokenness leads to revival; if that means that my vulnerability will help someone else experience freedom or growth in an area of their own life then I will do it over and over again. Every time.
Openness and brokenness
leads to revival.
the name is joy….in the journey, and we are about to take our first walk together!!
“Michelle, you are just as short as her!”
Maybe I never realized I actually had to look up to make eye contact when speaking with other people but I legitimately never felt short in ALL twelve years of life– until that moment in eighth grade. I never felt so insignificant… but ever since… I was so aware of how fraile-little I truly was*. I spent the next decade of my life constantly being sized up and rarely being taken serious. Yes by others, but primarily by my own self. Do you know what it’s like to typecast yourself in the game of life, only it isn’t a movie and you still feel like you keep coming up short (pun intended)? That’s how I felt. In my friendships, relationships, even in my personal growth I would feel ten steps behind. Fast forward to now, I am twenty six and the last eight months have been a crash course into adulthood. If you ask me how old I “feel” I will tell you 22/23 and that my friends, is PROGRESS!!
It all started* when I took the biggest leap of faith I have ever embarked on. Raleigh, NC! In short, I felt “called” in 2016 to go. I had never visited nor had I ever heard of this “Raleigh”. However suddenly I began to see Raleigh everywhere. There was no place I wanted to be more than this city that I knew nothing about! I spent the next year and a half planning and forcing opportunities to try to visit. To no avail, every time I would get close to going, everything would fall apart. For months I wrestled with this promise that I would one day go. I had given up ministry opportunities, dream job, dream car, relationship(s), all because it wasn’t Raleigh and I knew those other opportunities would feel great for a moment but they wouldn’t bring the ultimate satisfaction in my heart. As I reflect on my journey now, I am so grateful for every closed door/ every door I walked away from. Each time I was rejected, I was made stronger. Every opportunity that wasn’t for me, blessed someone else. Although it hurt in the moment, walking through that process prepared me for the fighter I became. Slowly I was having the “fraile” pieces of Michelle be chipped away. I was being refined. I was having my character developed. I was defeating my Goliath and going back to the fields to prepare for my appointing that was coming my way.
Around September I was at a youth retreat; I was taking online classes in Orlando and focusing on hosting a Walk For Freedom with A21.I was learning to love the city I resided in and not pine over where my heart longed to be. Living with purpose for the now–Raleigh was the furthest thing on my mind! It was that same conference where I once again received the challenge to go. I tried to brush it off. I didn’t want to get excited all over again. It soon became clear that this wasn’t a drill… through prayer I even felt like I got a specific date as to when this move would happen. All the thoughts rushed through my head. Questions, doubt, worry, peace? I had no car, no place where I could live, no savings to pick up and go, no plan…. yet I felt so much peace in that moment.
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have their holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” -Matthew 8:20
It was more than a challenge, it was an invitation. It was a call to faith. Blind faith. I remember specifically falling to my knees-overwhelmed when I counted the cost of what moving to Raleigh would entail.
If I move, I’m giving up my family- we are inseparable. Do you trust Me?
If I move, I’m giving up my friends- they may forget about me. Do you trust Me?
If I move, I don’t even have a car. Do you trust me?
If I move, where will I sleep? Do you trust me?
I don’t even have money saved. Do you trust me?
This was absurd. This was insane! I had two months to decide and I knew I couldn’t tell anyone just yet– I needed to process through all of this before I let the opinions of others dictate my decision. I needed to be sure for myself THIS WAS GOD! Over the next two months while I wrestled behind closed doors, I loved a little harder. I hugged a little longer, and I tried my best to be more present. They didn’t know what was coming or how long they still had left. So I can’t be upset that the same urgency wasn’t on everyone’s minds. Time flew by and before I knew it November was upon us. I still was undecided. At this point I was convinced it was God… but it was me who was still struggling with abandoning everything and everyone. I knew time was of the essence and that Sunday night I had to make a decision. That was literally what the sermon at church was about too. Ironic! I cried. I laughed. I thought I was crazy. I was ready. I was going to be a nomad. I decided in my heart that no matter what moving to Raleigh ended up looking like, I was all in and from there I knew it was okay to begin telling my closest friends and family.
We were a week out from the big day and I still had no car to get to Raleigh. In my desperation I started going to any and every sketchy car dealer who would sell me a hoopty to at least make it there. Nothing. People began questioning the timing and whether I should postpone my move for a few weeks but something in me knew that part of that blind faith was contingent upon the date. Car or no car. I shook off the comments, went back to prayer and looked into other options. My friend Tamika, whom I only met a couple months prior, volunteered to take me! As soon as we arrived to Raleigh we went right to looking for cars. “I’m sorry, we can’t sell you a car unless you have a North Carolina license”. Are you kidding me? I finally arrive in my dream city and now I can’t even have a car? I will be without a hotel in a week–where will I put my things?Where will I go? Again, the thoughts started to come up but I went back to prayer and reminded God of His promise to me. After another call, there was a cheap car lined up for me at a dealership the next day. We went. I couldn’t find this car anywhere so we kept looking. Lo and behold to the left of me sat my DREAM car. Jeep Renegade LIMITED- leather seats, seat warmers, touch screen, backup cam, pull down drink holders in the backseat… AND A DOUBLE SUNROOF- I didn’t even ask for the sunroof *crying emojis*. I then remembered a vision my mom spoke of months prior.
“Michelle, I saw it! You were at the car dealer handing him money; you were getting your dream car Shelly but it wasn’t here– It was in Raleigh.”
Two hours later I drove off in my first car* in Raleigh, North Carolina!
From then I spent the next month and a half bouncing from hotel to hotel (which was paid for by a church I visited), crashing on people’s couches, the occasional sleep in a booth at my job and a couple times I found myself sleeping in my own Jeep Renegade. I didn’t care though! I was in my promise land and I was choosing faith. I was never promised that it would be easy. I was just called to go. Each step of the way, I never did without. I always had food to eat, all my bills were always paid, gas was never an issue, God was (is) faithful– even if the provision didn’t look the way we often think it’s supposed to look. More and more I was being affirmed in the fact that I belonged here. I began searching for a church, young adult events to meet people… I positioned myself for things to happen. And they did. They still are! Since moving here I’ve decided on the direction I want to pursue career wise. Finally!! I made an incredible friend who has now become my roommate for the next year. I had the privilege of traveling to India and now Costa Rica for medical/ anti trafficking ministry.
I am no longer little Michelle who is afraid. I am strong. I am enough (in Christ) and I am UNSTOPPABLE. I will always be small in stature but I am small no more. I now have found my voice and am committed to using whatever platform I am given, to help others walk unleash theirs . My journey hasn’t and isn’t always easy but one thing I constantly remind myself is to choose joy.… (wait for it)…. in the journey!
Let’s walk this road together, Soul-joy-ners (sojourners).